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Friday, October 4, 2013


(NOTE:  Grove resident, Tom Boyce,  wrote this important letter published in the Miami Herald yesterday.)  


The readers’ forum

Grove residents want more opens space

The challenge for American city planners and landscape architects developing a new crop of river and other waterfront development projects, and even parks like NYC Skyline Park, is to create open spaces that will draw city dwellers to underutilized low-density areas that have been marginalized by development geared toward industry, cars and consumers. To meet these goals they often have to add expensive, artificial, engineered open space.

 What Miami commissioners are doing, building on what city-owned open space that is left, is exactly the opposite.

  In Coconut Grove, like most of Miami, there is a high density area pushing right up to privately owned waterfront that is largely inaccessible for the majority of residents. What many residents need, and most want for the few city-owned open spaces left, is access to the waterfront and more open spaces in Miami, not more retail opportunities under parking garages that can be anywhere. We don’t need more expensive restaurants, or cheap chains like the ones at Bayside that cater to tourists.

We want places with authenticity and soul that capture the essence of the Grove, not expensive chain steak houses that can already be found elsewhere in our community. 

As professional yacht captains, my wife and I are all for boater access and world-class destination marinas, but the marinas and most yacht clubs are only able to be utilized by high-income citizens. These facilities block access to the bay for most of the city waterfront in Coconut Grove.

Miami city planners and officials who have the well being of their entire constituency at stake would scale back the proposed restaurants for Coconut Grove waterfront to replace and upgrade what was there. There is certainly no need to expand the offering from two restaurants to four, which apparently creates the need for more parking just to attract more income for the city’s parking authority which must also take on more debt to pay for it. 

Instead of selling off the citizens’ long-term rights to parks and open space for a short-term goal of balancing the budget, turn the underutilized surface parking into open park space. This is the essence of what Coconut Grove residents thought we were getting after all the workshops held over the last three years or so. Unfortunately the elitist, profit-driven development that has left Miami with so little open space has found no counterpoint in our elected officials.

Tom Boyce, 
Coconut Grove

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